Although the US Army’s camouflage controversy is getting a lot of attention, discussion and development, the Americans aren’t the only ones who’ve been busy developing new camouflage patterns over the past few years.Besides the famous “Partizan” suits seen during the Beslan hostage crisis, or the copy of the “Yeger” pattern seen during the war with Georgia there have been a lot of other interesting camouflage patterns and suits developed by commercial companies such as SPLAV, Sposn and Modox.All of these commercial offerings are designed to address the requirements of special operations forces – particularly those of the Ministry of the Interior – who need to be able to operate effectively in the broad range of terrain and environmental conditions found across the vast expanses of the Russian Federation. And something else which makes them interesting, from the perspective of the camouflage enthusiast, is that most of these camo patterns are “analogue” designs – some of them are even simply updated versions of historical patterns.
SKOL camouflage pattern
One pattern which is not simply an updated historical pattern is this one from the company Modox. Modox call it “SKOL” – although I have also seen what appears to be an identical pattern called “Sklon” offered by another company. However, both “SKOL” and “SKLON” are in fact commercial copies of an official military and MVD pattern called “IZLOM” (which means “fracture” or “crack”). IZLOM was apparently developed for the Russian military and MVD by SPOSN and is currently used on a new uniform designed for paratroopers, amongst others things. (Thanks to Johannes for his assistance with additional information.)
From a quick glance, you might think this is more or less a copy of German Flecktarn. However, a closer inspection reveals that it is actually quite different. Most obviously the colours are not identical, and the pattern distribution is also different. Most different of all though are the actual pattern shapes. Whereas the Flecktarn pattern is composed of blobs and dots that have rounded edges; the SKOL pattern is composed of angular “lozenge” shapes.
- SKOL – FLECKTARN comparison
In use (photos courtesy of Modox)
Modox “Wal” BDU and Helmet Cover
Personally, I have always liked the loose-fitting style of the Soviet/Russian camouflage suits, for 4 reasons:1 – the bagginess of the garment helps to disguise the human shape better2 – looseness of the fit allows greater flexibility of movement3- it also makes it easier to layer or delayer your under-garments as needed4 – they’re clearly designed as a field/combat uniform – no “garrison uniform” compromises built-inA few months ago I received an example of one of these types of suits from Red Zone in Poland. Red Zone is a retailer that specialises in selling the products Splav, Sposn and Modox to the rest of Europe. They’ve also been approved by the Russian Ministry of Defence to sell surplus Russian Army uniforms and equipment.The “Wal” BDU consists of a pull-over hooded anorak and trousers – both of the loose-fitting, baggy style typical of Russian camo suits. The features of this suit are also fairly simple and straight-forward. Hooded Anorak
- One central chest pocket with buttoned flap closure – wide enough to hold 3 AK74 type magazines
- Two diagonal slash pockets above the bottom hem
- Elbow areas are reinforced, and articulated for better movement
- Hood includes roll-down camouflage mesh
- Elastic cuffs
- Adjustable elastic waist and hem
- Loose fit for unconstrained movement
- Reinforcement patches at knees and seat
- Knee areas are articulated for better movement
- Two thigh cargo pockets with buttoned flap closure
- Two slash hip pockets
- Elastic cuffs
- Adjustable elastic waist
- Non-adjustable elastic hem
- Big enough to almost entirely cover a full-cut Pro-Tec type helmet
ImpressionsThe suit is made from a high quality, mid-weight, rip-stop material that feels and looks like a nylon-cotton mix (although I don’t know what the actual percentage or mix is, as I can’t read the Russian label). At any rate, it feels like a fairly robust material. The quality of workmanship on the suit is also high.As for the features, well they are fairly simple and straight-forward – some might even consider them somewhat “old-fashioned” compared to modern, Western combat clothing. But keep in mind, this suit is most likely intended as a camouflage over-garment for snipers, marksmen, scouts, etc. – not as a hard-core direct action combat uniform.So looking at it in that light, I found the layout of the suit’s features to be quite practical and useful. Nonetheless, I would have preferred to have had upper arm pockets for notebooks, range cards, etc., and I also would have preferred the chest pocket to be closed with snaps or hook-and-loop fasteners rather than buttons. I also would have preferred the leg cargo pockets to be closed with hook-and-loop fasteners or snaps rather than buttons – and an extra pair of cargo pockets either on the side or rear of the thigh would add extra practicality to the suit.Its worth pointing out that there are other styles of BDU also available in this camo pattern – so there are different pocket layouts, etc. to choose from.As for the camouflage pattern – it looks like it would be quite effective in the right kind of terrain. That being – most likely – northern, temperate/boreal forests with a high percentage of evergreen trees. It was clearly too dark for the type of woodland where we put it to the test.Nonetheless, I really like this suit – and it might just form the basis of an airsoft Russian SOF loadout.The Wal BDU, plus a wide range of other modern Russian tactical clothing and products, can be seen and ordered (in Euros) on the Red Zone website.Photo Gallery: All photos copyright Benj Hanson.